One-third of all physicians serving in the armed services could leave for civilian life this year unless Congress quickly enacts a new bonus bill to replace one vetoed by President Carter, say Defense Department spokesmen. The Pentagon estimates the services could lose about 3,700 doctors whose terms of duty are up this year because of the loss of financial incentive.
President Carter objected to what he termed "unduly generous" bonuses and extra pay totaling about $28,000 a year per doctor, nearly twice the current $16 ,700. The bill has gon back to the House Armed services Committee.
There has been a serious shortage of military physicians since drafting of doctors was halted in 1973.